The Main Museum and ArtCenter Announce Exploratory Partnership

Main Museum
The partnership furthers the missions of the two organizations by expanding their reach and scope of art and design education for students, faculty, museum-goers, and the L.A. community. Photo of The Main Museum’s First Floor Gallery is by Chris Wormald.

LOS ANGELES—The Main Museum of Los Angeles Art and ArtCenter College of Design announced an innovative agreement to develop a long-term operational and programmatic partnership that would further the missions of the two organizations by expanding their reach and scope of art and design education for students, faculty, museum-goers, and the L.A. community. The exploratory partnership provides financial stability for The Main so that it may remain a crucial resource for the public for years to come, while strengthening outreach and programming opportunities for both institutions.

The exploratory agreement period begins June 1 and continues through the end of 2018 and will offer the institutions the time and space to set the specifics of a long-term partnership. The institutions have discussed that upon completion of this discovery period, The Main would move under the umbrella of ArtCenter and the college would provide operational support for the museum. In addition, the space the museum is housed in—12,000-square-feet of renovated space within the historic Hellman building—would be leased for $1/year to ArtCenter.

Within the partnership, programming at The Main would continue in its current spirit and the mission of The Main would stay the same—to engage the public with the most important ideas of our time through the art of Los Angeles—with the addition of design, which is a core area of ArtCenter’s curriculum. The collaboration will offer ArtCenter a deeper engagement with the city while creating new opportunities for student and faculty engagement. It is also anticipated that the staff of The Main would engage with ArtCenter’s established and developing programming in a variety of ways.

“Though we don’t yet have all the details of the collaboration finalized, we are fortunate to have the time and space to imagine the possibilities as a group,” said Allison Agsten, director of The Main. “Movements aren’t made by individuals, they are made by the collective, and to that end, the more of us that can work together, the better. The Main’s work is very much rooted in process—such as building the museum over time—so it seems only right to create a partnership with ArtCenter in a way that is true to our mode of organizing.”

“ArtCenter has been looking for a way to learn from and be part of the Downtown L.A. community,” said Lorne Buchman, president of ArtCenter. “This is an extraordinary opportunity to explore the possibilities with The Main Museum, especially given the important work they have done in the less than two years they’ve been open.

We are committed to provide students with new innovative learning and making spaces that lead to their success as well as exploring new opportunities to share their work with industry and community partners. By entering into an advance agreement with The Main, we’ll explore working together under ideal conditions.”

Main Museum and ArtCenter
The exploratory agreement period begins June 1 and continues through the end of 2018 and will offer the institutions the time and space to set the specifics of a long-term partnership. Photo of Beta Main entrance by Elon Schoenholz.

While partnering with The Main will provide ArtCenter greater exposure in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, the College has no plans to vacate the City of Pasadena. A comprehensive master plan announced in 2015 incorporates the College’s long-term plans for enhanced facilities at its Hillside Campus and establishes a planning framework to guide future development at an expanded South Campus at the gateway to the city of Pasadena. Final city approval of the plan is expected in the next few months. The master plan will provide on campus housing for the first time in the 88-year history of the College.

The exploratory agreement between the two institutions comes at the end of a months-long effort by The Main to find a partner to help ensure the future of the museum. After discussions with other cultural and educational institutions, The Main found the ideal partner in ArtCenter—an organization that shares The Main’s desire for rich, interdisciplinary dialogue about social issues through the lens of art and design.

“The prospect of working with a museum in Downtown Los Angeles offers the chance to create rich, intercultural, and transdisciplinary dialogue with a wider community of Angelenos as well as the many visitors to the central L.A. destination,” said ArtCenter Provost Karen Hofmann. “We know this collaboration will produce exceptional contemporary art and design programming for Los Angeles. Working with The Main will also offer new opportunities for our students and faculty to engage with an arts institution and practicing artists in the heart of the city.”

The Main and ArtCenter will spend the remainder of the year working together to create a model for merging while The Main continues its regular programming. Additional details about the partnership will be shared as they develop.

“I’m energized when I think about these months ahead of us,” said Agsten. “I have already learned a great deal from ArtCenter’s team and I know that The Main will be dramatically enhanced by their intelligence, experience, and innovative approach to the world.”

 
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